RHS Chatsworth Flower Show


Article by David Marks

The Chatsworth RHS Flower Show is held in the grounds of Chatsworth House which has been chosen as the UK’s favourite country house on several occasions. It was the home of the Duke of Devonshire who is currently the 12th Duke of Dveonshire, Peregrine Cavendish.

In 2018 a major £32 million refurbishment of the house and grounds was completed.

This totally independent guide from GardenFocused is intended to provide you with information about the show to help you enjoy it more.

For 2019, the show will be held at Chatsworth House, Bakewell, Derbyshire DE45 1PP from Wednesday 5th June (RHS members only) to Sunday 9th June. Wednesday to Saturday opening hours are 10.00am to 6.30pm, on the Sunday they close at 5pm.

RHS Chatsworth Fantasy Wire
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Tickets can be pre-booked or bought at the entrance. Each adult is entitled to bring two under-16s free of charge.

The remainder of this review is about the 2018 show to give you a taster of what to expect in 2019. We will update this review as more details become available.

Tip Number One entry to Chatsworth House and the surrounding gardens is half price for those attending the RHS show.

Tip Number Two the area becomes congested with traffic on show days, do expect traffic jams and your stress levels will be reduced. You are strongly advised that when you get near to the show to follow the adequate signs and forget about using your sat nav. Car parking is free and there are ample spaces for all. Allow about 30 to 45 minutes for the traffic near the show.

There may also well be a long walk from where you park your car to the entrance.

When you do get the entrance you will also probably be faced with a significant queue to enter even if you have a pre-booked ticket.

Top Tip Number Three is to wear wellingtons or similar weather proof footwear. On the day we visited the weather was dry and normal shoes were fine. If the weather was wet, walking off the paths could cause significant walking problems.

In 2017 the weather was wet and this caused problems with mud and soft ground. For 2018, the organisers have laid reasonably wide paths in the most trafficked areas which is a great improvement.

RHS initials with flowers
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Show gardens should inspire amateur gardeners to develop ideas which can be used when they develop their own gardens. The majority (all I think) are across the river (there are two bridges) from the main show area.

There are too many show gardens to show them all here but they range from large to small, from rather obscure to just very attractive. All are worth a look. The one below is called “Picture This” and is one of the smallest but it does stimulate the imagination and the kids will love going behind the frame to be part of the picture.

"Picture This" at Chatsworth RHS Show
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“Picture This” display
RHS Chatsworth Flower Show

On a more practical level is the garden below, “The Great Outdoors”. Oak is used for the unusual shaped pergola. The planting is mainly cottage style with a small water feature in the centre. It’s a peaceful garden which would be sure to inspire contemplation.

Great Otdoors display garden RHS Chatsworth
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“Great Outdoors” display garden
RHS Chatsworth Flower Show

Nearer the entrance to the show there are several large container gardens which are well worth viewing. The one which particularly caught our attention was “Rhythm of Colour”. The colour combinations combined the different colours and textures are a delight.

This is a real possibility for a small garden in the UK and it would be easy to maintain. Yes, the wood used for the container would be hugely expensive but with some imagination and reclaimed wood and other materials the cost could be made reasonable.

Rhythm of Coluor container garden
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Rhythm of Colour container garden
Designed by
Samantha Harvey


There are two very large floral marquees at RHS Chatsworth in 2018 plus a smaller marquee devoted to orchids The range of plants and gardening accessories is expansive and all can be bought on site, often at a discount.

Fuchsia in floral marquee at Chatsworth
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Fuchsia Display
RHS Flower Show Chatsworth

It does become very crowded in the floral marquees throughout most of the day but this is normal at these large shows. Because the show is held at the beginning of June the temperature inside the marquees is very pleasant.

The quality of the displays inside the two floral marquees was top notch in 2018. One example of many, by
Harts Nursery who won a gold medal at the Chelsea Flower Show in 2018, is shown below. An astonishing display of lilies.

A display of lilies
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Lily display by Harts Nursery
RHS Floral Show Chatsworth


There is more than enough food outlets on site to ensure that everyone gets adequately fed. The range of food is wide, everything from a sandwich to a Mexican wrap and 100 shades of cuisine in between.

If you prefer a sit down meal then the River View cafe may be more to your liking. The picture below shows the menu and the prices. The prices for all the food at the Chatsworth show is above what you might expect. If you prefer to bring your own food, there is no problem.

Whatever food you choose to eat, judging by the 2018 show, seating may well be a problem. The weather forecast for the 2018 show is excellent so the prospect of water sodden ground is very unlikely. However you may want to bring a mat or two so that you can sit on the grass in relative comfort.

River View cafe menu and prices
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There are several areas in the show where guest speakers and performers will be entertaining and / or educating their audiences with often amusing, always informative talks and music.

One not to miss is the Piano Stage with performances throughout the day (see the timetable below). There is seating around the bandstand and often this is good place to eat any takeaway food and listen to some excellent live music at the same time.

Piano Stage timetable
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The Piano Stage timetable

It’s worthwhile searching out the Garden Theatre which has talks from guest speakers every 45 minutes starting from 11.00am. Guest speakers include  Martin Fish, Jon Wheatley, Helen Bainbridge and several others. The Duke of Devonshire also gets a slot on Thursday and Friday.


We attended the RHS Chatsworth Flower Show in 2018 and having travelled some distance to get there we stayed at a B and B overnight. It was the Grosvenor House in Buxton which is about 16 miles from Chatsworth House. Spacious and well furnished bedrooms, a huge and delicious breakfast, lovely position just opposite a park. We thoroughly recommend this B and B.